Jan. 24, 2012


Fullerton finishes first in Big West preseason poll


Cal State Fullerton was picked to finish first in the Big West Conference preseason poll in voting by the league’s head coaches as released by the conference office.


The Titans took six first-place votes and 76 points to finish ahead of UC Irvine, which had the other three first-place votes and totaled 70 points. Long Beach State was third, followed by Cal Poly, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, UC Davis and Cal State Northridge.


Fullerton won its 25th Big West crown a season ago and its ninth in the past 13 years. The Titans went to the NCAA Tournament for the 20th consecutive season and the 33rd overall. First-year head coach Rick Vanderhook (pictured above) welcomes back six returning position starters, but must replace the starting rotation.


UCI picked up 43 wins in 2011, its fourth 40-win season in the past five years. Head coach Mike Gillespie guided the Anteaters to an at-large NCAA berth and a Super Regional appearance.


The regular season begins on Friday, Feb. 17, with all nine Big West teams in action. Eight of the nine squads start conference play on March 30. The Big West does not have a conference tournament, so the regular season champ earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.


2012 Big West Preseason Poll


Team, Points (First Place) (2011 Big West, Overall Records)

1. Cal State Fullerton, 76 (6) (19-5, 41-17)

2. UC Irvine, 70 (3) (16-8, 43-18)

3. Long Beach State, 58 (12-12, 29-27)

4. Cal Poly, 54 (15-9, 27-26)

5. UC Riverside, 44 (11-13, 29-23)

6. UC Santa Barbara, 37 (10-14, 26-26)

7. Pacific, 25 (9-15, 17-37)

8. UC Davis, 23 (10-14, 18-36)

9. Cal State Northridge, 18 (6-18, 23-33)


(photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton Media Relations Office)